The devastating effects of domestic violence on young people will be brought home in a shocking new DVD .
Entitled Family Portrait - Voice of a Victim’, the DVD was launched at Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey, earlier this month.
It has been produced by ABCLN, a youth group involved with the Women’s Aid charity.
ABCLN has worked tirelessly to produce an emotive DVD aimed at helping others.
In attendance were representatives from Women’s Aid; PSNI and Justice Minister David Ford.
The launch of the DVD forms part of Police Service of Northern Ireland’s annual Christmas campaign to tackle domestic abuse.
The campaign will also include billboard and facebook advertising to encourage victims of domestic abuse to come forward.
The DVD has been funded by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Youth Justice Agency and produced by the Young Voices group which is attached to Women’s Aid in Antrim, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey (ABCLN).
It builds upon the success of a dramatic play also called ‘Family Portrait, Voice of a Victim’. Some members of Young Voices had a keen interest in drama and were committed to producing a powerful play that would represent young people’s experiences of violence in the home.
The play was previously performed in Ballymena Town Hall, the Old Court House Theatre, Antrim, The Police College in Garnerville and Stormont Buildings.
It tells a story through a character called Julie, a young woman who thought she’d found love but sadly endured over twenty years of abuse. It is a story about a mother who thought she was trying her best to keep her children safe and who, with the help and support of others, managed to turn her life around.
The DVD, also comes with a resource manual that states ‘some of the biggest victims of domestic abuse are the smallest’.
It is full of useful advice, information and contact numbers. The pack aims to help the public learn more about the issue of abuse within teenage relationships as well as recognising the early warning signs of abuse and the issues of power and control. Welcoming the new DVD, Chief Constable Matt Baggot said: “The emotional impact of domestic violence should not be under-estimated. If the victim is a parent, then it can also have an incredibly negative impact on children.
“We know there are more victims out there, and we want to encourage them to take that brave first step and call police, or one of our partner agencies like Women’s Aid. There is also a 24 Hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline number for victims - 0808 802 1414 or in an emergency please call 999.”
Speaking at the event, Justice Minister David Ford said: “The DVD is powerful viewing and I commend all those involved in its production. It gives young people a voice, a voice that must be heard. I am pleased that the DVD will now be used, along with associated training material, to educate a wide range of organisations so that they can better understand the safety and support mechanisms young people in this situation need.”
Turning to the campaign being run by the PSNI and Crimestoppers, Mr Ford continued: “During the Christmas and New Year period statistics show an increase in domestic violence and abuse incidents. It is therefore appropriate that we heighten awareness of this dreadful crime at this time of the year and encourage reporting of it. This campaign focuses on the third party – those who may know either the victim or the perpetrator. As difficult as people may feel find it, there is an onus on all of society to address domestic violence and abuse. By reporting domestic abuse or their concerns, victims may get the protection and support they need and perpetrators held to account for their actions.”
Laura Dillon, Volunteer Co-ordinator added: “We are very proud of the work and commitment the young people have put into making the DVD Family Portrait Voice of a Victim. They have worked tirelessly to produce the DVD along with the resource manual, which will be used as an educational tool for all. We hope this DVD will raise awareness of the impact domestic violence has on children and young people as the hidden victims of domestic violence. Together, we can make a difference.”